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Review: Latitude 2011

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Review: Latitude 2011

The sixth installment of Suffolk’s largest festival managed to withstand the rain, the naysayers, and deliver a veritable smorgasbord of cultural and (no need to hide it) middle class entertainment. 

This was my third trip up to the Southwold based arts bonanza that is Latitude, and once again Henham Park was at full capacity. Thirty-five thousand tickets sold on the back of the strangest mix of headliners for a festival this year.

Friday night was shared between the ever-epic National on the Obelisk stage; who managed to power through the rain and the lack of fan enthusiasm to deliver a stand out performance, while the always amazing Bombay Bicycle Club headlined the Word Arena. Saturday night was highlighted by one of the best shows that I have ever witnessed at a festival courtesy of Foals, meanwhile Paulo Nuitini became the first headline act at Latitude on the Obelisk stage to use fireworks. And it was all wrapped up on Sunday with two of the Nineties biggest bands still going; the suavely dressed Eels and Mercury Music Prize winners Suede.

But the musical highlight of the weekend for myself has to be shared between Suffolk’s own Ed Sheeran, who opened the main stage on Saturday afternoon, and Kele Okereke who fought the Sunday hangovers. Both musicians managed to overpower the bad weather and get the crowd pumped to the point of explosion.

Old classics such as Guilty Pleasures (all the music you hate to love) were still in effect for the late night ravers, along with the Sunrise Arena and Lake Stage hosting DJs Goldierocks and Huw Stephens to blast away the tiredness.

That’s a lot about music for a festival that is “more than just a music festival” but music was strangely the heartbeat of this year’s Latitude, lifting spirits perhaps more than any other genre over the weekend. That said, the comedy tent as usual was a packed barrel of LOLs. Particularly funny was Alan Carr who headlined on Sunday (not that you would think it from his annoying TV appearances, but as a stand up he is both flawless and hysterical).

Film and theatre were also good, particularly the latter by virtue of the theatre groups being given more space and flexibility to present some magical performances in the woods. I must admit to not seeing much in the way of poetry/literature.

In summary, I challenge anyone to try and not have fun at this festival, where the crowd is happy without going too berserk. Certainly the rain did not dampen anyone’s spirits. If anything it brought people together with this year’s festival one of the friendliest I’ve been to.

Words Nick Williamson
Photography Jen O’Neill


1 simonjn | on 21 July 2011

i’d love to see eels. LOVE to

2 Howard | on 22 July 2011

I found them a bit disappointing. beards, old age and blues rock instead of the insightful intelligent indie rock i’d heard belonging to their formative years. some artists are better left on tape.

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